the rug is pulled out from under you. I guess that's kind of universal for a lot of us single parents, but that sure doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I'm going to vent, and I feel no need to kiss any one's ass or be politically correct. I'm going to say exactly what's on my mind. If this offends you then I'm sorry.
DSHS has decided that I should be capable of meeting all my children's needs on my own without their assistance. The system I helped pay into for years with our exorbitant taxes is no longer available to me when I find myself in need of it. For craps sake, I make 15.00 per hour, who the hell can raise four kids on their own - w/o child support - on that? Are these bureaucratic nimrods on crack?
I sat there last week, feeling defeated and pathetic, with my pay stubs, my utility bills, and my ridiculous excel spreadsheet showing how much I'm short each month. I plead my case and laid out exactly why I need help with things like childcare and medical insurance for my children. It doesn't matter. They don't care. It has to be a hard job being a social worker - but the total apathy these people have towards other humans in need makes me want to spit in their holier than thou faces.
I was actually told that if I was "unemployed" i.e. "If you quit your job" then there would be plenty of services available. WTF? You're encouraging someone to quit their job and go on welfare? Really? This is your idea of "help"? When I was making $13.00 per hour they told me I was too poor for low income housing. Yes you read that right... TOO POOR. I wasn't going to be able to afford my utilities so they wouldn't even put me on the waiting list. All they would do was give me a list of shelters to try (none of which would take a family of five, I would have had to separate my kids up and send the older two alone to a youth shelter and keep the younger two with me.) So I get a better job and whoa Nelly now on two bucks more an hour I should be able to meet all our needs, no problem. Does anyone else see a problem here? Am I the only one with a look on confusion on their face?
I know it sounds horrible, and I try not to make this a race issue but the teenage girl with the THREE children under the age of five, the neck tattoo, and the interpreter sure didn't leave with a frown on her face. I have the impression from her smile that they didn't cut HER services... so EXCUSE THE FUCK OUT OF ME for being born in this country and having a JOB. Excuse me for finding myself in a situation - not by my own making - where I'm a single mother. They actually said, "well you went to college, you have a degree. Why can't you make more money?" In this economy? What the hell? The system is broken. Backwards, demented, retarded, and just plain broke as hell.
So I put in my paperwork to start a formal appeal. I'm hoping that at the very least they'll put me on the sliding scale for reduced cost medical and childcare. They took away my free birth control so I will have to figure out what to do about that. I can't afford to pay for my Depo shots - and I certainly can't afford to have another baby. Maybe that's the trick... I just keep pumpin' out babies until I pass the threshold and qualify for help again. What a fantastic idea!! (insert dramatic eye roll here)
They also took away my food stamps - which was a pathetic meager amount to begin with that was only 1/4 what it actually costs me to feed my family. I'll tighten my belt and make my food budget stretch. The kids will learn to live without snack foods and we can certainly cut out some of the more expensive cuts of meat we enjoy. Like my dad said, "hey kiddo - we lived on ham, rice and beans when I was growing up - there are ways to feed a family on the cheap. You'll be okay!"
It's infuriating that services are available if you come here from another country, if you just pump out one kid after the other from the time you hit puberty, or if you choose not to work even though you're able to - but someone who needs temporary help until they can get on their feet, someone whose taxes have paid into the system for years, someone who is willing to work; well that person is just shit outta luck.
I guess what really frustrates me is that I had gotten myself to a place where I was able to pay my bills on my own with a small amount of assistance from the state. Now I HAVE to depend on BLT to help pay the bills - and I promised myself I wouldn't be financially dependant on anyone ever again. If a year from now he decides he doesn't love me anymore, or if this life isn't what he really wants... I could lose everything. I feel insecure and the lack of control makes me feel like a failure. Others manage to do this on their own. I'm the kids' only parent. I should be able to put food on the table and pay for their basic needs and I can't. There isn't a way to make those dollars stretch enough. I've looked at it every which way possible. I've had another set of eyes on it....it's impossible on my own with my bills.
I feel beat up. I know it will pass...but tonight I feel like someone ran me over and left me for dead.